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Question: about pro bono representation?

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Here is the situation. A young friend is accused of manslaughter in the Bronx (NY), was put at Rikers Island in Queens in September of 1998, and had a pro bono lawyer assigned to the case (who later got ill and could not continue representation). Another pro bon attorney was assigned to the 19-year-old in December of 1999 and still has not acted on the case -- due to the attorney's heavy case load. The case is due to go to trial in September 2000.

Is it customary for the process to take so long, and should the currently assigned attorney have begun gathering information by now in order be fully prepared come September?

I would appreciate any qualified insight into this matter. Thank you.

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Johnny B. Goode

That seems like an awfully slow process getting to court. It seems like the trial should be happening sooner. Getting prepared for trial depends alot on the case. Much of what a defense attorney does is responding to the actions of the prosecuting attorney, so until the prosecutor starts to move there isn't always much for the defense attorney to do. If the trial isn't set until September then there is still plenty of time to prepare. Much of what the defense attorney does will be behind the scenes and not apparent to the person being represented. People get frustrated with pro bono attorneys because they do not get the personal attention that they would like, but it is my experience that they get as good a legal representation as any one else.

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